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tv   Inside Story  Al Jazeera  June 22, 2014 5:30am-6:01am EDT

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letting go of the music would risk the tribe losing touch with the past. that's our website by the way, the home page. keep up to date with the news at >> a new partnership between coffee giant, starbucks, and arizona state university, has offered thousands of workers making cappuccinos and lattes their own higher end. that's "inside story." >> hello, i'm ray suarez. all of the
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big-think discussions about education and the work assume that a more educated workforce is a better workforce, period. but what if the business you're involved in isn't aerospace or manufacturing, what 23 it's making coffee drinks, and muffins and sandwiches? if the person who has just prepared your half calf, skinny latte, has an associate or bachelor's degree, who gets the caffeine jolt? the business, the worker, the country? we're about to find out with the business that changed the coffee drinking in america gets companies rethinking the way they invest in their workforce. the partnership between starbucks and arizona state university is the first of its kind. starbucks has 135,000 employees at 7,000 stores. 70%, the company says, are students, or would like to be.
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>> this is not about pr. this is about the future of our company, doing right for our people. and also sending a message to the country that we can't build a great company, and we can't build a great enduring country if we're constantly leaving people behind. >> the program is called the starbucks college achievement plan. it will give students money to take online classes at arizona state university. to qualify, starbucks employees must work at least 20 hours a week. fresh enand sophomores will be eligible for partial tuition scholarships, and financial aid for full-time study. juniors and seniors will receive reimbursement for course work that they complete for a bachelors degree. but there's an important catch.
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students don't get the money up front. they will only get reimbursed when they reach benchmarks for garage. for juniors and seniors, it's when they reach classes. they should plan to devote 18 hours a week for each class. at that rate, it could take a long time to get repaid. >> your family's class and your family's income will not determine your fate. your fate will be determined by you. too many people view human capital as a commodity. not as a person. so starbucks is an innovative corporation, interested in the advance of human capital. interested in the success of the united states, and interested in you as an individual. >> arizona state university began it's online program in 2010, and it's now one of the largest in the country, offering undergraduate degrees to 7,000
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students. a student needs 120 credits to earn a bachelors degree, and the cost of an online education is a bargain, about $15,000 per year. starbucks employees will still need to apply to be accepted into asu's program. but under a new partnership, they are figure on 15-20,000 new starbucks students. so is this a business deal? yes. is it good pr? probably, but is it more? are these companies leading the way to a new partnership that can change the way american students access higher education and pay for it? is the underlying idea that better educated men and women are more valuable to the company as employees? or will they simply ask for more money for their work? once you've helped them complete a credential, aren't they going to leave?
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the interest at stake, the up sides and the down sides of the new partnership between starbucks and arizona state university this time on the program. joining us for that conversation, from pennsylvania, bill harvey, the senior marketing strategy for campus and online and distance university. rachel fish man, policy analyst at the new america foundation, and from gainesville, florida, andy mccollough, who leads the online bachelor's degree program. rachel fish man, a lot of companies have tuition plans and assistance plans, but is this one different because it goes all the way to the shop floor in the way that others don't, and includes part-timers? >> i think it's a bit different, because for starbucks, you can be an hourly employee only working 20 hours a week to be eligible for this benefit.
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i've seen a lot of tuition reimbursement programs at companies where you might have to be a full-time employee before you receive that benefit. and this is good news for the starbucks employees working 20 plus hours a week who have some credits in hand already, and are looking to get that bachelor's degree. >> phil harvey, it's not that unusual to use tuition reimbursement at a company. and i guess a lot of your clients at penn state were involved in just that kind of program. >program. but aren't they with companies where you are thinking of making a career, and a long-term commitment to that program? >> yes, that generally is the case. i would say most situations are students, looking further than themselves within the company, and that's probably more with the students exercising the tuition reimbursement at the
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company that they're working with, and there are generally caveats with it. the individuals have to stay for a person period of time so they might be liable to pay some of it back. >> when we talk about those kinds of programs, when you look at your own program that you run at penn state, are we talking about hundreds, thousands, tens of thousands? how many people across the country doing this learning like this are doing it with the assistance of their company? do we know? >> well, we have been working with corporations for some time. as rachel indicated, it's not necessarily a new model. in our case, we have been doing this for a number of different years, and we have worked with thousands of students who have exercised their tuition reimbursement benefit. as she said, i think that the real difference here is the fact that they're pushing that benefit much lower in the organization than is typically the case. >> when you
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do that, might you expect a different kind of outcome? that you may not do it for semester after semester, that you may not complete, if you're dealing with younger workers, dealing with workers who are often short timers with the company, is there a different kind of profile for that student than the one who might be mid career and earning another credential? >> well, i think obviously they are a bit young, as with most younger employees. there's probably a better chance that they may decide to leave starbucks at some point for other employment, but on the other hand, i think the program provides them with an excellent incentive to stay at starbucks longer. it also provides starbucks with an opportunity to really monitor how these employees do, and in some cases be able to target individuals that might be good
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candidates for higher level positions in the company. >> and i should mention that we asked both starbucks and arizona state university to participate in this program. and both declined our request for an interview. andy mccollough, what's best practices when designing a program like this? you're working with an employer, and you want to attract students, do we know what works and what doesn't? >> we have been in the business of delivering this kind of education like the world campus for a number of years, but most of our students, without exception, have been at the graduate level. and in most every case, they have on an employment reimbursement plan. what's noted and is different here has both to do with the nature of the possible student, their age and their position and their life cycle. i think without question,
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wherever you go, whatever students you have, in online learning, one of the primary tenants is, you must develop a program that engages the student. you engage the student both in terms of the content and the methodology associated with delivery. the engagement process is probably more of a challenge when you're working with students that are undergraduates and early in life cycle than the completer, who has a little more focus and direction, but it remains to be seen how well arizona state, penn state, university of florida, will be able to capture the imagination of the first time in college 18-year-old or the young worker degree. >> we heard earlier from arizona state and starbucks, and it
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sounded like all upside and blue skies. we're going to take a short break, and when we come back, the possible flies in the ointment. should juvenile killers serve life without parole? >> the didn't even ask for the money they just shot him. >> horrendous crimes committed by kids. >> i think that at sixteen it's a little too early to write him off for life. >> should they be locked away for good? >> he had a tough upbringing but he still had to have known right from wrong.
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>> welcome back to "inside story" on aljazeera america. i'm way suarez. for years, starbucks subsidized full-time employees. even when stock abalizers pressured them to drop the benefit, starbucks hung on. in the age of affordable care act, is the company turning to the next benefits? and that is education. rachel, you looked at the program. and are there down sides in maybe the first flush of stories that we haven't seen? >> well, i think first of all, the story that comes out really hits on the national anxiety. and the reason this made front-page news in the education world is that families and students are really concerned about the rising costs of college. now, this program does not address the cost of college.
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it provides a great benefit for starbucks employees, especially those employees with some credits but no degree to get that junior and senior°. >> bill harvey, if you ask the student to pay up front, they have to float that cost for some time on their own, and what we're talking about in this case, the case of baristas and putting muffins on the shelves, some fairly low waged workers. >> it can be a challenge. i know that in our case, one of the things that we do, we try up front, with the perspective students, to understand the commitment that they're making, because it's substantial. from an economic standpoint, as well as the time that you are going to are to commit to penn state to earn a°. it's something that we take very
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seriously, and we want our students to succeed. and we definitely want them to understand going in, what the financial equation is, and what is expected of them as penn state students. we hope that they will work together to do the same for their employees. >> andy mccollough, is that good design? do you put pressure up front, and get a reimbursement to complete? >> it's a step in the right direction, trying to find the access that you want to provide. and at the same time, appropriate innocentization, it's probably more of it than a science.
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with the up-front cost, there's incentivization. i think what's important for arizona state and starbucks is to make sure that the students, as they engage the program, properly understand the benefits, the self benefits as well as the corporate benefits to completion. >> do we have to keep in mind, rachel fishman, the people living at home and working, and those who have been to college before, and are working to support themselves?
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>> i know that are arizona state university uses a program called quality matters to ensure the process among the falkty. faculty, but it might not be the best avenue for the 18-year-old, who might be better served by going to a four year school or community college and learning what works for me, as opposed to face-to-face, is it a hybrid online? i can do fine in online courses and take starbucks up on this benefit. but because the benefit doesn't travel with the student, the students can't take those benefits to a community college or a regional four year school and see if they can thrive in the online environment first. >> are the credits in prison? you have to either go the whole race at asu -- >> or you don't get the subsidy. you could do two years at a community college, since the
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subsidy is not as large for freshmen and sophomores, and then you could transfer to arizona state university and get a heavily subsidized bachelors. some lose credits along the way and some of them might not transfer to arizona state. so you have to be sure that they aren't losing their status as a sophomore, junior, or senior. >> andy mccollough, that's something that students face nationwide. whether learning in person or online. the erosion of credits, if they transfer to a four year institution, sometimes institutions that are even part of the same larger system don't recognize each other's credits when you try to make a leap from a two-year or four year institution. do we have to get better at this business at large? not just in this particular case of one company and one line program?
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>> you know, i think no question. that you've hit on one of the problems, and in one measure, we have solved here in the state of florida. one of the two plus two programs, where we had students going to the community colleges, face-to-face, and then transferring to the university of florida, the last two years online, and the process was guaranteed through articulation agreements that had been with all of the university and college systems, so the student knew that if in fact he or she received an aa degree from the community college, those credits university. >> is that the case in pennsylvania? >> it's somewhat different.
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at penn state, it's really up to the individual academic colleges to review each student's particular situation, and then make a determination as to what credits may or may not match to the penn state°. in addition, i think that we have to get better at this. we have to speed this up, so the students know how many credits are going to transfer, and we have a way of looking at it, to make sure that we can provide students with as much higher learning assessment and transfer as is appropriate, but still maintain the academic quality of the°. >thedegree. >> is the credit in person at a brick and mortar institution? >> yes, the credits are the
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same, ultimately, when you have a credit, it's a te penn state degree, the same as a student who sat in residence for four years. >> we're going to take a break, and when we come back, who benefits? if this ends up costing starbucks hundreds of millions dollars, is it more valuable for the company and a more valuable workforce? stay with us. this is "inside story." their vo,
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and al jazeera america is doing just that. >> i'm joie chen, i'm the host of america tonight, we're revolutionary because we're going back to doing best of storytelling. we have an ouportunity to really reach out and really talk to voices that we haven't heard before... i think al jazeera america is a watershed moment for american journalism >> you were watching "inside story" on aljazeera america. i'm ray suarez. in any business plan, there's the plan itself, and then there's the way thousands of people make decisions around it. how they use it, what it ends up costing. the kinds of things that are
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projectable, but not knowable until we see what people do. we're talking about the new partnership between starbucks and arizona state university this time on the program. still with us from pennsylvania, bill harvey, the senior marketing, and rachel fishman is here from washington, at the new america foundation. and in gainesville, florida, andy mccollough, the university's online bachelors degree online. andy, you were going to commit the company to possibly spending millions of dollars on its workforce overtime and what's the end-product? what does starbucks get out of it? we know there's a possibility that individual workers are going to get degrees out of it, and what does starbucks get out of it?
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>> well, i think it's beneficial at multiple levels. at the macro level, as indicated by the ceo of starbucks, it's good and are the nation and the company, and beyond that, one of the things, if i were involved in the decision at starbucks that i would be reflecting on, as this benefit becomes public, and as these opportunities become available to my employees, it's highly unlikely that i will get additional interest from additional employees that otherwise might not even consider working with my particular firm, but now, given this motivation and possibility, i may get a whole new set of opportunities in terms of employees. >> rachel, does that sound right to you? you'll get a better applicant by someone who may not have much money, but is college aspirational. if i'm going to do customer
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work, counter work, i might as well go here where i get help paying for college? >> i think that's what it might be. starbucks is going to attract a more competent applicant pool. and arizona state university is giving the front end scholarships, so all that starbucks is on the hook for is reimbursing those 21 credits, and that might not -- not many students may take them up on that, because it might be difficult for lots of students to complete 21 credits. >> bill harvey, what do we have to measure, watch out for? what will let us know if this thing is working, one, three, five years out? >> well, first i think there will be a lot of mops and dads out there trying to teach their kids how to make espresso. but beyond that, i think that ultimately one of the challenges here, and this might not be so much for starbucks, but for
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arizona state, is they're talking about taking on a lot of students within a relatively short period of time. and the tricky part is going to be, can you scale these programs to meet not only the demand that is going to come from starbucks employees who want to take part in the program, but other arizona state students because of the publicity that the program has generated. we're growing quickly, but within the scale of penn state. we view the academic quality. and we take that very seriously, as well as the experience, and we want it to remain valuable. so arizona state needs to figure out how can i scale up, be really large, use technology to help me deliver to these students but in a way that i'm going to retain the academic
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quality and give my students the great experience. >> and since you don't have to build a gym, locker room, lunch room or classroom, is online learning scalable more quickly than bricks and mortar learning? >> i think no question, it's scalable, and certainly more quickly. but in the scaling process, as you deliver excellent content online, it is not an expensive process. if you're going to do it at the quality level that all of us would insist on, then it will require careful scripting, careful selection of faculty, careful management of content. and then another challenge that i think arizona state is going to have to deal with, is as they try to serve starbucks and it's purposes, it's going to have to use care that it maintains it's academic quality, that at the
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same time it services, but it is understood, both by starbucks and arizona state, that the students who will be admitted, will be students that on the evidence of prior accomplishments will be successful in providing curriculum delivery. >> andy mccollough in florida and rachel fishman, that brings us to the end of "inside story," thanks for being with us and the program may be over, but the conversation continues. we want to hear about the issues that are raised on this or any show. is the asu partnership going to work and is anybody going to earn a degree? hand us your comments on twitter or reach me directly. i'm ray suarez.
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